Siddu-HDK spat over political past turns ugly
The Legislative Assembly on Tuesday a witnessed heated arguments between Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy as they tried to dig into the political past.
While Siddaramaiah reiterated that he was denied an opportunity to become chief minister when he was in the Janata parivar, Kumaraswamy admitted that he was not in favour of the former becoming chief minister in 1997.
Siddaramaiah’s reply to the revised budget discussion took a political hue as he began issuing rejoinders to every comment made against him or the Congress on the floor of the House.
When he started recalling how he was denied the chief minister’s post while he was in the Janata parivar, the House witnessed a heated debate with Kumaraswamy mincing no words to express his anger against the manner in which Siddaramaiah was making allegations that he could not make it to the post earlier because of the H D Deve Gowda clan.
Siddaramaiah said that when the then chief minister Gowda became the prime minister in 1996, as many as 87 Janata Dal MLAs had favoured him to succeed Gowda.
Immediately, Leader of the Opposition Kumaraswamy argued that best efforts were made in 1996 to make Siddaramaiah the chief minister but some of his (Siddaramaiah) associates saw to it he was denied the post.
“Don’t you remember what happened at Karnataka Bhavan in New Delhi where J H Patel, you and others were present to discuss who should succeed Gowda? I was an MP at that time. Don’t you remember how Patel behaved? So don’t say we back-stabbed you.”
Patel had replaced Gowda as the chief minister.
When Siddaramaiah continued his argument that he was denied the post, Kumaraswamy, in a raised voice, said, “In 1996, I did not oppose your candidature. But in 1997, I did not support you and stood by Patel. Because, I could not forget the humiliation I faced as an MP in the prime minister’s house.”
Ramesh Kumar (Cong) said that it is better not to mention the names of those leaders who are no more. Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa repeatedly advised the members to desist from recalling political history.
But Siddaramaiah, seething with anger, said that it was not Gowda who made him the deputy chief minister, but the MLAs. A miffed Kumaraswamy said: “Don’t keep talking as though the Gowda family has done some injustice to the state.
“Don’t talk as though you are a Harischandra.” Kumaraswamy repeatedly challenged Siddaramaiah by saying, “You ask Sonia Gandhi as to why you were not made chief minister in 2004.”
When many members advised Siddaramaiah not to deviate from the budget, he said that he was instigated by Kumaraswamy to speak. However, he also said that this was not the forum to speak the truth. “I became deputy chief minister only because seniors such as Ramakrishna Hegde, C Byre Gowda, R L Jalappa and Madhu Dandavate asked me to take up the post.”
When Siddaramaiah reiterated that it was only the Congress which values social justice, many JD(S) members stood up to point out how the Congress had insulted M Veerappa Moily, S Bangarappa and Veerendra Patil. Madhu Bangarappa (JD-S) said the Congress had harassed his father Bangarappa for 18 years while eventually the CBI gave a clean chit to him in the Classik computer case.